New Favorite Thing: Eddy Current Suppression Ring - "Which Way to Go"
For the past few months I was pretty sure that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!" was going to be my favorite album of the year. Now I'm not even sure that it will be my favorite Australian album of the year. That's because the cumbersomely-named Eddy Current Suppression Ring have released "Primary Colours" and it's a rock-and-roll powerhouse. There's nothing fancy about what the Aussie quartet does. It's just guitar-based rock music done as well as it can be done, in the vein of fellow countrymen (continentmen?) the Saints and the Scientists. The single and best song is "Which Way to Go," and it shows what the band is all about -- sharp riffs, fiery speak-sing vocals (always a favorite) and constant forward momentum.
What I especially love about "Which Way to Go" is the way the song is constructed. I'm a song-structure nerd and generally I have a less-is-more philosophy. The reason I have a natural aversion to bridges (and sometimes solos) is that they rarely serve any purpose in moving a song forward. Most of the time they are thrown in because the band figures, well, we can't just have the verse and the chorus, we need something else to make it seem like we actually know what we're doing. ECSR is confident enough in their natural power that they don't fall prey to this trap. "Which Way to Go" starts with some heavy riffage, then does the verse-chorus thing, although there's only a slight shift in what is actually being played. Then instead of getting cute, they simply repeat the whole thing, except this time with some slightly more agitated vocals. And that's it. It sounded great the first time, it sounds great the second time. Three minutes of rock. The rest of the album --released on the always-reliable Goner Records is more of the same. Which is a good thing.
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